Putting up its best-ever performance, Samajwadi Party on Tuesday stormed to power in Uttar Pradesh with a stunning majority routing Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Part, the third time a party captured power on its own in the state in two decades.
SP, which was ousted from power in 2007 on law and order issues, avenged its defeat at the hands of BSP which was reduced to 80 seats from 206 five years ago.
The Mulayam Singh Yadav-led party has captured 221 seats in the 403-member House and was ahead in three others when the counting of votes was on for 11 seats.
Bharatiya Janata Party was placed in third spot with 46 seats while Congress was relegated to fourth place with a tally of 28 seats and a lead in a couple of others.
While BJP this time lost four seats from its 2007 tally Congress improved its position marginally from what it was five years ago.
SP's previous best performance was winning 143 seats in 2002 elections in a triangular contest with BSP and BJP.
The party's impressive performance could be gauged from the fact that it not only snatched seats from BSP but also made inroads into the stronghold of BJP like Lucknow.
Performance of Congress, which had banked on the charisma and aggressive campaigning by Rahul Gandhi, was dismal.
Though the party's tally has improved slightly as compared to 2007 when it had won 22 seats, several of its stalwarts lost this time.
While veteran Congress leader Ammar Rizvi lost from Sewta seat, security deposit of Louis Khurshid, wife of Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid, was forfeited in Farukkhabad.
The party performed poorly even in the bastion of Nehru-Gandhi family -- Rae Bareli and Amethi Lok Sabha constituencyes represented by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul respectively.
While the party lost all the five seats in Rae Bareli, Lok Sabha constituency, it was defeated in three out of the five constituencies in Amethi.
Even its three-time MLA from Amethi Amita Singh, wife of Congress MP from Sultanpur Sanjay Singh, also lost her seat. Similar was the situation in Sultanpur where all the five seats were won by SP.
The party paid the price of the feud between Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma and Chairman National SC/ST Commission P L Punia as the party failed to win a single seat in their bastion Barabanki. Verma's son Rakesh Verma was placed third in Dariyabad seat.
Abhishek Pal, son of Congress MP Jagdambika Pal, lost in Basti Sadar seat.
The only solace for the party was its state president Rita Bahuguna Joshi and CLP leader Pramod Tiwari winning from Lucknow Cantt and Rampur Khas seats respectively.
No less dismal was the show of BJP which appeared set to fall short of its tally of 51 seats in 2007.
Except Uma Bharati from Charkhari and Kalraj Mishra from Lucknow East and Deputy leader Hukkum Singh, almost all its stalwarts and senior leaders lost.
Among those defeated were state party president Surya Pratap Shahi from Pathardeva, former state president Ramapati Ram Tripathi from Siswan, leader of the legislature party Om Prakash Singh from Chunar, former state president and ex-Speaker of Vidhan Sabha Kesari Nath Tripathi.
The party lost in eight of the nine seats in its stronghold Lucknow, once the Lok Sabha constituency of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
BSP, whose rule was marred by allegations of corruption and scam, failed to make much of an impact on the electorate despite operation clean-up by party supremo and CM Mayawati.
Several of its ministers, including Chaudhary Laxmi Narain, Lalji Verma, Jagdish Narain Rai, Nand Gopal Gupta Nandi, Abdul Mannan, Sangram Singh Verma, Jaiveer Singh and Speaker Sukhdeo Rajbhar, lost.
The results were encouraging for Peace Party of India, whose three candidates state president Ayub, Akhilesh Singh and Yusuf Mullick emerged victorious.